The Trump Administration Thinks Your Employer Should Make Your Birth Control Decisions

The Trump administration moved forward on Wednesday in its quest to give businesses and other institutions a license to discriminate by issuing a regulation allowing employers and universities to deny health insurance coverage for contraception — currently required by law — if they object because of religious or moral views. The move could leave thousands of people across the country without contraceptive coverage.

The Affordable Care Act requires that insurance plans cover birth control and other critical women’s preventive services without a co-pay or other cost-sharing. This provision, which took effect in 2012, expanded access to health care and was an important step toward gender equality. As the Supreme Court said in 1992, the “ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.”

Thanks to the ACA’s birth control benefit, an estimated 62 million people now have co-pay free insurance coverage for birth control. After it took effect, women saved $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs on birth control in one year alone. It’s an incredibly popular provision of the ACA, so it’s no surprise that the Trump administration waited until the day after Americans cast their ballots in the midterm elections to partially undo it.   

The administration began its effort to undo the ACA’s birth control benefit in 2017, issuing what is known as interim final rules, which can only be finalized after the public has had a chance to comment on them. Attorneys general in California and Pennsylvania challenged the interim rules, and courts in both states issued nation-wide injunctions prohibiting the rules from being enforced.

Because the final rules released Wednesday still allow virtually any employer or university to claim a religious or moral exemption to deny its employees or students insurance coverage for contraception, we expect courts to be asked to block enforcement in those ongoing legal cases.

This week's announcement is only the latest in a series of moves by the Trump administration to use religion to discriminate. In December, it argued at the Supreme Court that the Constitution allowed a bakery to refuse to serve a gay couple a wedding cake for their reception.

In January, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed regulations permitting hospitals and other health care providers to refuse even to refer patients to services they didn’t support, like abortion or transition-related care — proposals that would be devastating for women and the LGBTQ community. And in October, the administration argued that the nation’s civil rights laws do not bar discrimination against LGBTQ people.

Allowing employers and universities to use their religious beliefs to block employees’ birth control coverage isn’t religious liberty. It's discrimination. And by setting up contraception, and by extension women’s sexuality, in opposition to the free exercise of religion, the administration is sending another clear signal about whose humanity is moral and deserving of protection and whose is not.

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L.P.L. Smith

In times of very low unemployment, a man or woman might well choose an employer based on the level of benefits. This impacts a married guy who is providing his family's insurance!

I've said it before and I'll say it again- your personal religion does not give you immunity to the law, nor does your personal religion give you special protections of the law. You can't just say "oh, my religion supports (not) doing this" and get away with it. If I started a religion that banned paying taxes and required ritual murder, then those things would still be illegal!!! It's not rocket science, people!!! But, okay, let's say your religion gives you special privileges. What happens when a doctor of one faith and a patient of another faith clash? Whose rights win out??? The theoretical patient, whose religion bans overpopulation but requires sexual rituals? Or the theoretical doctor, whose religion bans contraceptives and requires faith in its god? You can't have it both ways. Religions WILL clash, I guarantee it, and you can't say "well it's okay to not help people for religious reasons but you can't require people to follow the default laws of the nation for religious reasons". God almighty, these numbskulls...


They can pay for it themselves.


if you’re a men your opinion doesn’t matter


It's very expensive. Not everyone has a lot of money.


if your doctor gives you the perscription then it shouldn't matter what the drug is. you can pay for your own cancer drugs, or penis enlargement supplements too... but the wh isnt attacking those. they're positions themselves as the moral high ground. but that position is subjective. in this country we have septation of chuch and state
if you want a religious ruling class move to the middle east you snowflake (im using this rhetoric to show how ridiculous this exaggerated argument style is and how it will get us nowhere in political discourse)


For every dollar spent on birth control it saves 2. So people cannot afford to pay out of pocket for their birth control. You may not know any but that does not mean they do not exist.


I could have paid for the steroids that saved my life when I had strep and my throat swelled up until I couldn't swallow and could barely breathe, but then why the hell am I having to bother with all this annoying insurance stuff?
I could also pay for the birth control my doctor prescribed, which is supposed to help with the pain and sometimes debilitating headaches I have during my period, but then why an I dealing with all the insurance stuff?

I bet you're the first to tell a mother in need that she should've kept her legs closed, and the first to demand that the woman in your life (IF such a sad person exists) now to your every sexual whim.


And you can also play for your viagra, insulin, liptor, norvasc, etc. What's the point of insurance if nothing is covered. Idiot!


You DO pay for it yourself. When you buy insurance. My employer should no more have the right to determine how i use my insurance coverage than how i use my paycheck. They are my compensation for my labor and none of my employers business.


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